Aquatic Safety Training
Aquatic Management (AMI) continues to be an industry leader in aquatic safety. AMI’s commitment to water safety training and aquatic facility management remains to be as strong as ever. Our water safety program is built on five very effective pillars.
A.L.E.R.T. (Aquatic Lifesaving Emergency Response Triage) PAK SAFETY PROGRAM
The AMI Aquatic Safety Program is built on the foundation of our ALERT PAK. We consider the A.L.E.R.T. program as a minimum safety standard in planning for operations for each facility. The following items are needed in the A.L.E.R.T. PAK.
Rescue tubes, lifeguard stand/stations, spinal extrication board with head/neck stabilizing supports, supplemental oxygen, Automatic External Defibrillators (AED), seal-easy face masks, Bag Valve Masks (BVM’s) (for adult/child/Infant), first aid kit, blood borne kit, ring buoy/rope, shepherd’s hook, fanny packs, surgical gloves, one V- vacuum suction device and ample amount of Coast Guard Approved Life Jackets (CGLJ) for all swimmers at Owner’s facility that is less than 48” (inches). This water safety equipment is necessary to provide quality care for swimmers who patronize the facility to ensure their water safety.
A lifeguard must be concerned about the safety and welfare of everybody in the pool and pool area. That’s a lot of responsibility and so guards follow a simple rule for watching the pool. The 10/20 Protection Rule. This rule has given a standard for lifeguards to follow in a commercial pool setting. The rule states that “…a lifeguard who spots someone in trouble needs to respond in 10 seconds and reach the person within 20 seconds.”
The 10/20 Rule is a two step method to reduce drowning rates by creating a standard that not only monitors each square foot of a pool every few seconds, but also placing lifeguards for quick response to an accident, or unusual event. Swimming pool and water park managers have recently been required, by code, to implement and use the 10/20 Rule. This method of scanning and response is used, primarily, to determine the placement and number of lifeguards. Then additional lifeguards and/or first responders may be added after factoring in crowd size, and environmental conditions (such as blind spots, loud noise or other distractions).
AMI must be given the ability to maintain adequate staffing levels to meet the “10/20 Rule”.
Five Minute Scanning Strategy
AMI manages each facility in conjunction with Five Minute Scanning.
While rescue and resuscitation skills are extremely important, scanning skills used in incident recognition are the primary function of the guard. Lifeguards must be constantly vigilant and attentive. When on duty, a guard must be mentally and physically prepared to scan their entire zone of coverage effectively. This includes being Rescue Ready; rescue tube in hand with the strap over the shoulder, properly attired, easily identifiable, wearing a whistle, and equipped with a resuscitation mask and gloves on the guard’s person.
Thus the Five Minute Scanning Strategy has been designed to reduce monotony and increase vigilance. This strategy includes:
- Posture – Sit – Stand – Stroll
- Position – Switch position or posture every five minutes and include more frequent rotations.
- Pattern – Scan – Change visual patterns every five minutes and scan the pool bottom first and then the pool top.
- Count – Count or approximate swimmers in zone every five minutes.
AMI defines minimum water safety standards as “the reasonable supervision and protection afforded to swimmers in all aquatic facilities” located on the premises of an aquatic facility including recreational pools, lap pools, diving wells, lazy rivers, children’s pools, water slides and other aquatic attractions.
To work in conjunction with these safety standards Aquatic Management places a recommended safety zone classification at each facility we manage. The classification system for aquatic facilities is designed to help aid Owners of the facility to determine the recommended staffing levels of safety personnel at each facility. The size of each zone is based on the type of facility. Each zone covers a predetermined amount of water surface area. The classification system defines the size of each zone per facility. The first step in properly placing aquatic personnel is to establish the proper number of safety personnel on duty. These recommended guidelines will help place safety personnel in the best position to quickly aid patrons in the event of an emergency situation. Aquatic Facilities are also “classed” by size and features to properly and accurately categorize into these safety zones.
- Class A – A swimming facility of any size, shape, or depth (without obstructions) falls into this classification. Competition pools are an example of a Class A facility. We recommend as a minimum that one (1) zone for every 3000 square feet or less of pool surface area. One (1) additional zone should be added for surface area above 3000 square feet.
- Class B – A swimming facility with two (2) or more water features or special purpose equipment at their facility. Examples of special purpose equipment include pools with zero entry, slides, wave pool, etc. We recommend as a minimum that one (1) zone for every 1500 square feet or less of pool surface area. One (1) additional zone for each additional 1500 square feet of pool surface area. All facilities with a slide of more than 10 feet in height should require an additional zone positioned at the entrance of the slide at all times.
- Class C – A swimming facility that consists of open water or a river pool. Any facility meeting this classification should have as a minimum one (1) zone per entrance/exit area and an additional zone for every 100 linear feet of water front. All open water facilities are highly encouraged to have lifeguard stands/stations for each safety zone. Examples of open water facilities include beaches, quarries, and lakes. One (1) additional zone for each additional 100 linear feet of water front.
All swimming facilities should provide and administer a water safety “swim test” (swim 1 length of pool and tread water for 60 seconds) for swimmers that are 48” (inches) or less to test their “basic” water safety swimming skills. Each child must demonstrate their swimming ability. Wrist bands should be issued and documentation should be recorded regarding the results of each individual swim test. The post-test evaluations that outline strengths and/or weakness of each swimmer should be available to parents/guardians, pool staff and swim coaches for each swimmer.